Barry Keoghan Quits 'Gladiator 2', Fred Hechinger Is in Talks to Replace Him

The 'Banshees of Inisherin' actor has been forced to give up his role as Emperor Geta in the much-anticipated sequel directed by Ridley Scott because of scheduling conflicts.

AceShowbiz - Barry Keoghan has abandoned the "Gladiator" sequel. "The Banshees of Inisherin" actor was supposed to play Emperor Geta in Sir Ridley Scott's highly-anticipated sequel, but he has now stepped away from the project due to scheduling conflicts, and "The White Lotus" actor Fred Hechinger is in talks to replace him in the role.

Meanwhile, a string of new casting announcement for the film, including May Calamawy, Lior Raz, Peter Mensah, and Matt Lucas surfaces, while Sir Derek Jacobi will be one of few returning cast members, reprising his role as Gracchus from the original 2000 blockbuster.

While many of the leading roles were offered to the cast, the director carried out an extensive search for the lead role of Lucius - the son of Connie Nielsen's character Lucilla and Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus from the original film - which ultimately went to Paul Mescal, and "Moon Knight" actress May had to go through a similar process, going through multiple auditions for her as-yet unnamed, but significant, part.

The new signings join a star-studded cast that also includes Denzel Washington and Joseph Quinn while Pedro Pascal is also in final negotiations and Connie will return as Lucilla.

Russell Crowe has ruled out returning as main "Gladiator" character Maximus Decimus Meridius in the new project - which is due to be released in November 2024 - and explained that it won't be a "direct sequel" to the Oscar-winning original.

Speaking on the "Fitzy and Wippa Podcast", he said recently, "Yeah we've had dinner and talked about it and all that stuff. So I know roughly how he's shaping the story. But yeah, if you remember, there was a young kid who wanted to beat the Gladiator, which leads to the 'My name is' speech."

"So that young kid has grown up, and he's now the Emperor. I don't know what else happens at that point, so that's the idea. So it's not a remake. And it's not a direct sequel. It's not like the day after, you know, 30 years later or something."

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